Reece bathroom
Picture: Supplied by Reece

Whether it's the windscreen on the car, the windows at home, the mirror or shower screen in the bathroom, the computer screen or our spectacles, it seems we are forever cleaning glass.

What's the best way to do it? Well, the answer very much depends upon the finish you want. For example, you clean the outside of your windscreen differently from the inside.

On the outside, you want it to be as hydrophobic (water-hating) as possible, that is, you want any rain drops that hit it to just slide right off. This can be achieved with Mr Sheen. It will leave a silicone coating that will cause drops to bead up and slide off, and it will also help the windscreen wipers glide across the surface.

On the inside of the windscreen, however, you want the opposite, as when condensation from your breath beads up, it forms mist. So what you want is a surface that will cause the water droplets to spread out, thus minimising the distortion of light as it passes through.

In other words, you want it to be hydrophilic (water-loving). This can be achieved either by using a product such as Windex, which will coat the surface with a positive charge, or a dishwashing detergent. Place the detergent on a cloth (directly from the bottle) and rub it over the glass. Initially it will smear, but keep rubbing until the water dries out and it becomes clear.

This is also a handy trick to use on the mirror in your bathroom, as it will stop the mirror steaming up. It will also stop the inside of motorcycle visors fogging up.

For computer screens or spectacles, a handy chemical to get your hands on is isopropanol (also known as isopropyl alcohol or 2-propanol).

Although it is available from hardware stores, a small bottle is quite expensive. It is much better to find a a chemical supplier (there are several in Perth) and go directly to them. Expect to pay $4-$5 per litre retail (the wholesale price is about $2).

Many sell retail to the general public (such as Rowe Scientific in Wangara), but ring and check first.

This remarkable chemical can be used on virtually any surface.

Use it liberally on computers or computer screens; it doesn't matter if it gets into the electronic components as it is actually used to clean them.

And while you're at it, you can wipe your face with it, as it is also rubbing alcohol.

For more tips visit drchemical.com.au.


Do you have a cleaning question for Dr Chemical? Send it to Habitat Dr Chemical Q&A, GPO Box D162, Perth, WA 6840, or email habitat@wanews.com.au. Please include your full name and suburb.

The West Australian

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